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by Terri Hogan
Senior Staff Writer
The Olney Manor Dog Park could become the first county-operate dog park to have lights.
Aaron Feldman, project manager, said funding is already in place for the project, thanks to a $100,000 state bond bill received three years ago for facility enhancements.
Feldman said improvements were made, including the installation of drinking fountains and shade shelters, and enhancements were made to make the facility compliant with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).
“There was money left over that is specific for improvements there, so we determined that lighting the dog park would be the best use of the money,” he said. “The Olney Manor Park recreation fields and tennis courts are already lit and there is staff on site at night, so it just made sense.”
The light fixtures would match the existing street lights on the adjacent driveway and parking lots. They are full cut-off fixtures, which direct light down and into the dog park, preventing light spilling onto adjacent properties.
The lights at the dog park would be on a timer, automatically shutting off at 11 p.m. The timing is consistent with the rest of the lights throughout the park and Montgomery Parks’ policy for lighted facilities.
Light poles would be placed just outside of the dog park fence, allowing the dog park to remain open during the installation and maintenance of the lighting.
Feldman said the next step is to make sure people are in favor of lighting the park.
“We haven’t had a massive response, but so far, the responses have been 100 percent positive,” he said.
Several of the comments posted on the project page stated that those who work during the day would have more opportunity to use the facility, especially during the winter when it gets dark earlier.
Montgomery Parks is seeking public comments. Those wishing to comment on the matter should go to www.montgomeryparks.org/projects/public-input/ or call 301-495-2595. The comment period closes at 11:59 p.m. June 30.
Feldman said after the comments are reviewed — assuming they continue to be positive — Montgomery Parks will work with its vendor to determine supply and availability for the lighting.
“We would hope to have it done by the fall, but certainly by next spring,” he said.
Olney Manor Park’s dog park opened in 2009. The one-acre park is open from sunrise to sunset. It consists of separate areas for small and large dogs.
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